"Privatization leading to the dismantling of the department's extensive health care system is a terrible idea," Shulkin wrote. "The department's understanding of service-related health problems, its groundbreaking research and its special ability to work with military veterans cannot be easily replicated in the private sector."
Trump fired Shulkin on Wednesday, making the announcement over Twitter. The president picked the White House physician, Adm. Ronny Jackson, to run the department.
Shulkin had become embroiled in scandals and conflicts in the latter part of his short tenure atop the government's second-biggest bureaucracy. In his New York Times article, and in an interview with NPR on Thursday morning, Shulkin said much of the conflict came from political appointees within the VA pressing for privatization.
"They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans," Shulkin wrote.